(CNSNews.com) - President-elect Joe Biden says he'll be listening to the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci, whom he has tapped to be his "chief medical adviser" and part of the Biden administration's COVID team.
Biden said he spoke with Fauci on Thursday, and in recounting that conversation, Biden told CNN's Jake Tapper that "bars and restaurants are going to close, but we're going to provide you the wherewithal to not lose your business."
Biden also mentioned a mask mandate: "I'm going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask. Not forever," Biden said. "And I think we'll see a significant reduction, if that occurs with vaccinations and masking, to drive down the numbers considerably. Considerably.
Here is a transcript of Biden's comments on the COVID crisis:
"We spoke today, at three o'clock," Biden said of Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
My COVID team met with him. I asked him to stay on in the exact same role he's had for the past several presidents. And I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well and be part of the COVID team. And so what has to be done is we have to make it clear to the American people that the vaccine is safe when it occurs, when that is determined,
And number two, you have to make sure as he points out you don't have to close down the economy like a lot of folks are talking about now, if in fact you have clear guidance and you're able to say to businesses okay -- for example, bars and restaurants are going to close, but we're going to provide you the wherewithal to not lose your business like the House had passed, and we're going to be able to reopen. We're going to be able to reopen in time. And not to close down for long periods of time.
We talked about masking. It is important that we in fact -- the president and the vice president, we set you know, the pattern by wearing masks. But beyond that, where the federal government has authority I'm going to issue a standing order that in federal buildings you have to be masked, in transportation, interstate transportation you must be masked, in airplanes and buses, et cetera.
And so it's a matter of -- and I think my inclination, Jake, is in the first day I'm inaugurated to say I'm going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask. Not forever. 100 days. And I think we'll see a significant reduction, if we occur that -- if that occurs with vaccinations and masking, to drive down the numbers considerably. Considerably.
Both Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said they will take the COVID vaccine when it's available and the FDA has determined it to be safe.
Biden indicated that his approach to the pandemic will be largely financial, which requires a cooperative Congress.
"There's a need for more financial assistance," he said.
Look at all the businesses that are being hurt so badly. No money to help them. Come Christmastime, there's going to be millions of people see their unemployment run out. So there's a whole range of things that have to be done, and we have to ante up.
I'm hoping, and we've talked about this, I'm hoping the Senate in this lame duck session will come up with some help to make sure we can keep people moving, keep people in their -- even if their jobs, even if they have to close restaurants and bars, they're able to be able to maintain their business while they're out. And so there's a whole lot of things that have to be done quickly.